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Re-Gathering for Worship

06.15.20 | News | by Diane Sherwood

    Hello Messiah Family!

    Messiah will continue limited gathering for worship on Sundays with one outdoor, blended service at 8:30am on the south lawn of our campus.

    MAKE YOUR RESERVATION FOR LAWN OR IN-CAR WORSHIP ATTENDANCE

    VISIT THE WORSHIP NOW PAGE FOR ONLINE WORSHIP


    Our campus will also begin to be open for small group meetings to be held outside. Our Church Council, pastors and staff have reached this decision while weighing both our deep desire to gather together and the importance of loving and caring for our neighbors in a time of serious health challenges.

    We remain deeply committed to the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of our Partners in Ministry, our staff, and our community at large. Accordingly, we will continue to offer on-line worship services for those who prefer not to attend in-person worship. The decision to “re-gather” is a personal one. Each person should make this decision based on their own circumstances and health conditions. 

    If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is flexibility. Things will certainly change as we move forward; many changes will still come; we cannot hope to go back to the past. We plan to embrace the best of what once was, as well as the essence of what it means to be the Body of Christ, as we find new ways to follow Jesus and love and serve God and our neighbors.

    Our initial on-site gatherings will be limited in attendance. As we re-gather for worship and small groups at Messiah, we will take into account all of the health and safety guidelines and mandates from the CDC, our state government, and the Orange County Board of Health, and guidance we have received from the Pacifica Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

    WHAT WILL THE EXPERIENCE BE LIKE?

    In order to follow local, state, and federal safety guidelines, worship services on campus will need to look very different. We will be together, but it will not be worship as we remember it for some period of time. As you read this, please keep in mind we will have a group of MESSIAH AMBASSADORS that are being trained to help guide you from your arrival, to your seating, to your exit. Everything that follows is for your safety and health and the safety and health of others.

    BEFORE YOU ATTEND
    In order to attend worship at Messiah, you will need to make an Online Reservation in advance. Those who do not have internet access have the option of making a reservation for the worship service by calling the church office. At this point we can accept only 150 reservations for lawn seating and 26 reservations for parking lot worship by FM radio transmission.

    This is essential to ensure two things:

    • that Messiah doesn’t exceed capacity for our worship services.
    • that Messiah has contact information for everyone who attends our worship services so that we can track down each person in case of contact with an infected person on our campus (this is a mandated CDC requirement).

    When making a reservation, you will be asked a series of health-related questions. Upon arrival at worship, you will be asked if there have been any changes to the answers you gave when you made your reservation. If you are experiencing fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should not make a reservation or plan to attend on-site worship.

    PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN BOTTLED WATER. DRINKING FOUNTAINS ARE TURNED OFF.

    • You will need to bring your own blanket or chairs to worship. Pop up tents and EZ ups will not be allowed. If you bring a beach umbrella, you will be asked to sit in the back or along the sides of the lawn. If you are using a small umbrella, please be mindful of the people behind you making sure it does not block their view.
    • Please wear sunscreen, a hat, and take other precautions against sunburn.

    PARKING LOT WORSHIP ON FM RADIO
    If you are registering for one of the 26 parking spaces for the FM transmission of the worship here is the information that you need.

    • Enter the South Parking Lot from Liverpool entrance.
    • An Ambassador will direct you to your assigned parking place.
      High profile vehicles will be directed to the back row.
    • No backing into parking places.
    • Turn off engine and roll down your windows.
    • Tune to the assigned FM channel (information provided upon arrival).

    If you are registered for the “WORSHIP IN-CAR” option, you do not need to go through the screening process (below), but you must remain in your car.

    WHEN YOU ARRIVE FOR OUTDOOR WORSHIP
    Please park in the North Parking Lot when you arrive. If you have mobility issues and need to park closer to the South Lawn, please drive to the middle driveway on Liverpool and let the Ambassador know. They will direct you to a more suitable parking place.

    As you arrive at Messiah, you will need to wear a mask or face covering. This is a mandatory requirement from the OC Board of Health. (The only exceptions are for children under 2 years of age.)

    Before you are seated for our outdoor worship, you will need to check in at one of the registration tables. Please maintain a 6 foot safety distance.

    Plan to arrive at least twenty minutes early in order to get through the check in line and get seated. Your reservation will only be held until the beginning of the service.

    The check in process includes,

    • Verifying your registration.
    • Confirming masks are worn by people over the age of 2.
    • Health screening questions.
    • Receiving a “No Touch” temperature scan. People with a temperature of 100.4°F or above will not be allowed to stay for worship.
    • Each family or group will be escorted by an Ambassador to their designated area for seating.
    • Bathrooms will be open in the Life Center lower floor; 6 foot safety distancing will be required and the entrance door to the restrooms will remain open. Please use the available hand sanitizer after using the restroom.

    While families can sit together, everyone else will need to be seated six feet apart from others.

    Children, including infants and toddlers, will need to remain with their parents through the entire service. No childcare or Sunday School will be provided due to strict safety requirements and ratios that cannot currently be maintained.

    You will be discouraged from engaging in any extended gatherings before or after the worship service.

    WHAT TO EXPECT DURING WORSHIP
    There will be songs sung by our worship leaders, Bible readings, prayers, a message, and a Benediction. However, no congregational singing, recitation of creeds, or praying out loud together will be included in the service.

    There will be no Messiah Today or printed material handed out.
    We will not pass an offering plate. Online giving is encouraged. Envelope offerings or cash offerings will be received via secure offering stations.

    Holy Communion will not be offered as part of our worship services during this first stage of re-gathering. We will continue to offer Drive thru Communion on a monthly basis.

    AFTER THE WORSHIP SERVICE
    When the service is over, you are asked to leave promptly and return to your car while avoiding contact with other people.

    For our initial re-gathering times there will be no coffee or donuts.

    A detailed cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing regimen will take place on all contact surfaces following the service. What has been outlined here is temporary.

    We realize this information may seem a little overwhelming. We also recognize the picture of what worshipping in person together will look like may not be what you were expecting. Please rest assured that our online worship services will continue even after we resume on-site services outside, for now, and later in the Worship Center. We fully understand many will not be able to or feel comfortable returning to our campus immediately.

    We share this so that everyone can know what to expect as we prepare to return to worshipping in person on site. We will keep you updated as schedules and protocols change.

    SMALL GROUP MEETINGS
    The outdoor areas on the campus are now open and available for small groups to begin meeting, in groups no larger than 10, while maintaining a safety distance.

    • People must wear face mask or face covering while on campus.
    • Groups must provide their own chairs or blankets to sit on.
    • During this time, use of the patio tables is not allowed.
    • Groups can consider meeting off site in the yards of group members.
    • There will be no restrooms or drinking fountains available in this initial stage of regathering. 

    Choose Hope and Connect to Joy,
    Your Church Council, Pastors, and Staff